Rhus Typhina or Stagshorn Sumach
The name of the genus may be derived from the Greek word rhus, meaning tree that colours, as well as from the Celtic rhudd, meaning red. It comprises some 150 species found in the temperate and subtropical zones of both hemispheres. Most are shrubs, some are, and some are small trees or trees, either deciduous or evergreen. The leaves are simple, trifoliate or pinnate and the are generally borne in axillary or terminal panicles. The fruits are small drupes. Some species of sumach are deadly poisonous.
Stagshorn sumach is native to North America and was introduced into France as early as 1622. It is a shrub or small tree up to 7m (23 ft) high. The leaves are odd-pinnate, up to 45cm (18 in) long and composed of sharply toothed, lanceolate leaflets. The flowers are greenish and borne in terminal panicles in June and July. Young shoots are velvety hairy and the fruits are hairy, purplish and very showy in the autumn.
Propagation is by means of seed which must be stratified or treated with chemicals. Stagshorn sumach may also be propagated by vegetative means, easiest of all by suckers. It will grow on dry soils but growth is more vigorous in ones that are moist and contain humus.
Stagshorn sumach is beautiful in the autumn with its vivid purplish foliage and clusters of purplish fruits. It makes an attractive solitary specimen in grass. Very popular also is the form dissecis with laciniate leaves.